This incredibly tasty Walking Taco Casserole combines all of your favorite additions to the popular state fair food into a meal that families love! Crispy chips, hearty beef taco meat, green chiles, cheese, and more - who could resist?!
It's an easy family casserole dinner to make that you can also customize to your family's liking!
Incredibly easy taco casserole that your whole family will love!
What in the world is a taco that walks and how could that be dinner for your family? You are about to learn!
The Walking Taco is a very popular state fair food in the Midwestern states, but I’m not sure where it originated. It is not a traditional Mexican taco, but an Americanized version that is so easy and fun to eat!
At the fair, people simply get a single serving size bag of Fritos, corn chips, or Doritos and layer the various ingredients into the bag, mix it up, and eat with a fork! You can walk all over and enjoy the sights while feasting on the walking taco!
This recipe is basically the same, but in a casserole style so that you can feed your entire family or a group of dinner guests.
Gather your fave taco ingredients and a bag of tasty chips to whip this easy family dinner up in no time!
- Ground Beef - At least 80% lean ground beef is recommended - for a healthier version, use ground chicken or turkey.
- Taco Seasoning Mix - You can definitely make your own with spices, but it's SO easy to use the taco seasoning packet from the grocery store!
- Yellow Onion - This is optional, and a white onion works just as well.
- Green Chiles - These are also optional, but the best chiles to use are fire-roasted or hatch chilies.
- Cream Cheese - This is also optional, and should be at room temperature.
- Chips - Taco-flavored Doritos is my fave for this dish, but you can use any crunchy corn or tortilla chip.
- Mexican Cheese Blend - You can find this packaged at the grocery store and it's a blend of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso, and Asadero cheese. Packaged shredded cheese doesn’t melt quite as well as shredded block cheese, but it’s super convenient!
For the toppings on this Walking Taco Casserole, you should use whatever your family typically likes best on their tacos.
Here are some suggestions: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced olives, sour cream or crema, chopped green onion, guacamole, sliced jalapeno or pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa.
Additionally, you can change up your taco meat and use shredded chicken or ground turkey instead.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
This incredibly easy casserole comes together in no time at all! Especially if you happen to have leftover taco meat already on hand!
- Preheat. Warm your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
- Saute (optional). In a pan or skillet, sauté the diced onion in a bit of cooking oil until translucent and fragrant. This step is optional, but it will really enhance the flavor of the casserole.
- Brown the taco meat. Add the ground beef to the onion and stir over medium-high heat until browned. If you opted out of using onion, just brown the meat in a dry pan or skillet.
- Add chiles and cream cheese. When the beef is nearly cooked through, add the chilies and the cubed cream cheese, stirring continuously to mix.
- Season and simmer. Next, reduce the heat a bit and add the package of taco seasoning and a bit of water (as per the seasoning packet instructions). Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Assemble the casserole. Take everything in the pan and transfer to a casserole dish and add half the chips and one cup of the shredded cheese. Stir everything well to mix and then add the rest of the remaining chips and cheese on top.
- Bake until melty. Place in the center of the middle rack and bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, adding all of your favorite toppings!
This Walking Taco casserole is a huge crowd-pleaser! Plus, it's really easy to make the spiced meat mixture in advance and then throw it into the oven with the chips and cheese a few minutes before mealtime!
The walking taco with the single-serving bags of chips is wonderfully easy for a birthday party or backyard gathering. Just place the meat and all of the toppings on a table. Then give everyone a bag of chips and a fork, and let them go to town creating their own personal, delicious taco delight!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
- Use leaner ground beef 85% lean for a healthier meal.
- You can choose the lean ground beef or even ground turkey.
- Change up your cheeses. Cheddar is great!
- Top with avocados, salsa, etc.
- Try with different types of chip flavors. I love cool ranch Doritos!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store any leftover walking taco casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, your chips will get soggy so this casserole is best enjoyed within 1-2 days of baking it up.
Reheating The Taco Casserole
To reheat your casserole, it is best to place a portion into an oven-safe dish and warm at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes. Larger portions may take longer to warm completely.
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Walking Taco Casserole
Walking Taco Casserole
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef (lean ground beef is recommended)
- 1 taco seasoning mix (or seasoning packet)
- ½ cup yellow onion (optional - or white, diced)
- 5 oz green chiles (optional - fire-roasted or hatch chiles are best)
- 2-4 oz cream cheese (optional - cubed and softened, at room temperature)
- 9 ¾ oz taco flavored Doritos (or use your favorite Doritos flavor, Fritos, or tortilla chips)
- 2 cups Mexican cheese blend (a 4 cheese blend of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla, and Asadero cheeses)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
- (optional) In a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, saute the onions with a tablespoon of cooking oil for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and becoming translucent and tender.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet (with optional sauteed onion) and brown. *Otherwise just start with the ground beef in a dry skillet or frying pan.(optional) Once the ground beef is mostly cooked, add the diced green chiles and cubed cream cheese. Break up the cream cheese and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the taco seasoning and water (as instructed on the seasoning packet, if using). Simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the cooked taco meat to a casserole dish and add half the chips and 1 cup of the shredded cheese blend. Stir to mix, then top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and all of the remaining chips.
- Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Top with all of your favorite taco toppings.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!